Monday, March 26, 2012

My Learning Curve With Deepak Chopra

Was it hectic organizing the Napoleon Hill International Conference 2012 and Napoleon Hill The Musical? You bet it was. I learned a lot during the process, particularly about how we as humans respond to situations differently and individually.

Some handled the high level of stress well. Some could not and broke down, revealing an ugly side to their personality. A certain key individual went into denial and remains so even now. At least one person that I know of took the opportunity to have a fling with the opposite sex. Some craved credit for work that they didn’t do. A few simply worked their asses off to get the job done.

Some, like Playwright/Director/Producer/Writer JD Menon not only rose to the occasion but surmounted tremendous challenges and earned my respect as well as that of his cast and crew. Heck, we absolutely love the man!

Speaking of the cast and crew of Napoleon Hill The Musical, I have the utmost admiration for this raggedy bunch of talents harvested by JD Menon over facebook, which transformed themselves right in front of my eyes over a period of two months into an ensemble that proudly gave justice to the biography of Napoleon Hill via their songs, dances and storytelling.

I also made many new friends, including Don Green, Judith Williamson and Dr JB Hill (yes, Napoleon’s grandson) of the Napoleon Hill Foundation USA and of course the conference speakers and my colleagues at Napoleon Hill Associates (M) Sdn Bhd.

I learned a lot from all the speakers, who unselfishly shared their knowledge and life experiences.

What can I say of Deepak Chopra’s 5 hour talk at The Napoleon Hill International Convention 2012? It started off sounding simplistic—what we can do to usher in change, personal and planetary—it ended up not so much.

What follows is my best take on what the talk communicated beginning with the seven levels of consciousness, and why we’ve only but to ask the right questions to discover the answers that seemingly beguile us.

Many of us may only experience the first three levels of consciousness, that’s deep sleep, dreams, and wakefulness because next is the area that becomes a bit flighty to our thinking, in that it leaves ego behind and borders on the ephemeral, but it can also be viewed as insight, empathy, tolerance.

The positive effects of this level are reduction of stress, lower blood pressure, less sickness, which can also mean slower heart rate, and more loving relationships—and yes, even regeneration of the body. Mediation will bring you to this or yoga, or perhaps for a start, even a walk around the block on a beautiful day.

Next is what Chopra refers to as experiencing the local and non-local simultaneously; it’s the idea of being in this time but not of it, so there is no fear of death because any such fear is replaced with a sense of self-knowledge. This leads into a visionary response that is compassionate and service-oriented because it recognizes the other as itself.

Ultimately, this will lead to pure consciousness, the realization that there is no other, that self and other is the illusion, and that all consciousness is the same. As Chopra explains, “the drop of water, which experiences itself as the ocean realizes that it, in fact, has always been the ocean,” and that its uniqueness or individuality has been the thing of dreams.
There is no such thing as an individual consciousness because anything experiencing itself as such is merely a pattern, and until this is universally perceived there can be no real change.

How do we arrive there? This is much of what the talk centred on. We begin to see the body as process, meaning we are recycling with the universe. This means, for instance, that every five days, you have a new stomach, and every three months a new skeleton.

So if we buy into this thinking, how then do “we” begin to transition? According to Chopra, it’s scientifically proven: Lengthening your telomeres, can change your brain structure. The thought that we can we change our brain structure means we can change our thought patterns or responses as well as how we perceive of situations.

Does consciousness outlive the death of the physical process? According to this thinking, yes it emphatically does. What are we other than a mind perceiving of a human experience. We are not our brains because the brain can be manipulated, stimulated, its matter altered or destroyed, but even then something of a spirit remains: in our memory of lost limbs, for example, or in our memory of experiences, say, our appreciation of a certain sunset because mine will assuredly be different than yours.

“Non-locality equals pure potentiality.”

“The ocean in the drop” is Rumi’s thinking: it simply means the universe is in what is perceived as your being. So, what we really need for the next step, may be as simple as realigning our “set point, ” everything indelibly inscribed on our psyches in our formative years, the first three years of our lives. Simply put, lengthening those telomeres.

“There are no spare parts.” You have a purpose.

So, what’s the remedy, or how do we go about changing our brains? Meditate (reset); “just do it” in way of exercise, walk, do yoga, go to the gym (this calms you in the end, as well as releasing toxins)

Ask the right questions. Chopra conducted what seemed like a very simplistic exercise – We had to face our neighbour and ask “Who am I?” for five minutes followed by “What do I want?” for another five and then vice versa. For me it was mind boggling because we are so caught up in living our lives that we’ve never asked ourselves these fundamental questions. It’s good to stop and take stock of where we’re headed occasionally.   

Say something nice to someone, brighten someone’s day—we never know how much time we’ve been given; make it count. Don’t dwell on obstacles because what a lot of brilliant people tell us is that those perceived “bumps in the road” might just be pointing to opportunities that we may otherwise miss.

So, “keep your wits about you,” and don’t give in. Surround yourself with positive people, and your happiness will grow exponentially. Then there’s an easy one - who else is in control of your destiny but you? Get enough sleep; eat better.

Gratitude, Joy, Love, Equanimity:
The ground of the compassionate spirit, according to Chopra, is the ground of the universe, and if you’re already connected, what in the world is there really to fear?

So yes, I have always had the gift of analysing a situation quickly, but now I have learned that I can actually change the situation simply by changing my thoughts and therefore my reaction to that same situation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a mountain of Deepak Chopra books to read.